FLEET FEET WASHINGTON, D.C. HISTORY
Fleet Feet, one of Washington’s leading stores devoted to running, bicycling, and swimming gear. The shop, owned by local residents Jan and Phil Fenty, is well known for its weekly “fun runs” through Adams Morgan and Rock Creek Park, and its commitment to community development. The Fentys were jointly honored with the “Champions of Democracy” award by DC Vote for their years of community activism and support of voting rights for the District of Columbia.
The Fentys opened Fleet Feet in June of 1984 as the first East Coast franchise of Fleet Feet, founded by world-class triathlete Sally Edwards. The original store was located at 1840 Columbia Rd. NW. Six years ago, it moved across the street to a larger facility at 1841 Columbia Rd. NW. Fleet Feet is now headed by Tom Raynor, with corporate offices in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
“Fleet Feet has been proud to be a part of Adams Morgan, a multiculltural crossroads, for 20 years,” says Phil Fenty, a former draftsman and photographer, who said his love for running led him to open the store with his family.
“If you can work in a field that you love, and bring your enthusiasm to others, it’s a wonderful way to live your life,” says Jan Fenty, who had been a D.C. public school teacher for15 years before joining her husband in opening Fleet Feet.
The couple has built a strong community of runners over the years. In addition to the weekly fun runs led by Phil Fenty, Fleet Feet conducts marathon training every fall, and gives support to area races as well as supporting community programs such as fund-raisers for schools, food banks, and women’ s shelters. The Fentys are active members of the Adams Morgan Business Association and have lived in the area for over 30 years.
Fleet Feet has always been a family-oriented business, the Fentys note. Three sons worked in the store through high school and college. Today, the oldest, Shawn, manages the shoe department and his wife, Kimberly Fenty, is apparel buyer. Adrian Fenty, the couple’s second son, is a D.C. councilman, and his wife, Michelle, an attorney, is managing director and associate general counsel for BearingPoint, a technology consulting firm, Son Jesse works for the U.S. Patent Office and completed law school in 2005. The Fenty grandchildren can be seen helping in the store on busy weekends.
“ We’re happy to have been part of the Adams Morgan community for over 20 years,” says Phil Fenty. “We’ve helped many people begin or maintain a fitness program, and we’ve seen several marriages as a result of people meeting at our fun runs.”
Fleet Feet’s customers come from throughout the Washington area – not only the Adams Morgan neighborhood but from the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court, the media, and other walks of life. “Our business philosophy of guaranteed satisfaction applies to every customer,” says Jan Fenty. “We want to help all our customers, no matter who they are, reach their goals for fitness and health, and we hope to be here another 21 years to serve them.”